This is not the Baltimore Ravens news we wanted to hear fresh off their overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans. With a huge Sunday matchup against the Steelers coming up, the Super Bowl contenders are going to be without several of the major components to their success in Week 12.
It was reported earlier on Monday that multiple members of the Ravens’ organization tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team to shut down its facility. We now have more information on this, and it’s not great.
Ravens news: Lamar Jackson out, Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins unlikely to play vs. Steelers
UPDATE: Dec. 2, 10:20 AM EST
According to ESPN.com reporter Jamison Hensley, despite Ingram and J.K. Dobbins being eligible to play in Wednesday’s long-await AFC North clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore’s best running backs aren’t likely to suit up.
That means Gus Edwards will in all likelihood be the lead back alongside fill-in quarterback Robert Griffin III, who takes the reins of the Ravens offense from the reigning NFL MVP. It’s been known Jackson won’t play, but there was hope Ingram and Dobbins could be in action to help Baltimore avoid falling to 6-5 and dropping a second 2020 meeting with Pittsburgh.
Now, the offensive outlook for the Ravens against the Steelers’ devastating defense looks all the more bleak. If Griffin can’t keep Pittsburgh honest as a passer and doesn’t emulate Jackson’s dynamic running ability well enough, it’ll be a massive upset for Baltimore to pull this one out.
Ravens news: Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins test positive for COVID-19
UPDATE: Nov. 26, 7:45 PM EST
Reigning NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson has joined running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins among those who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus:
There’s certainly a ton of moving parts to this. First off, we wish Jackson, Ingram and Dobbins as well as other members of the Ravens’ organization who have tested positive for the virus the best.
Secondly, this news comes one day after Ingram and Dobbins combined to touch the ball 19 times in the above-mentioned loss to the Titans. Obviously, Jackson is handling the pigskin on every play. With all of them going on the reserve/COVID list, one has to wonder if any members of the Titans were exposed to the virus. Remember, they’ve had their own COVID-related issues thus far this season.
Baltimore Ravens news: Thanksgiving game still scheduled to be played
Despite this outbreak taking place mere days before Baltimore takes on Pittsburgh in an all-important Week 12 game, the NFL is preparing to forge ahead with the matchup as scheduled.
Competitive balance has to be seen as an issue here. We’ve witnessed other teams short-handed big time due to COVID-19 outbreaks that were no fault of their own. Missing two of their leading rushers is no small thing for the Ravens
Related: NFL Week 12 schedule, predictions
Baltimore Ravens playoff hopes
That’s the on-field backdrop to all of this. Baltimore sits at 6-4 on the season and has lost three out of four. If the playoffs were to start today, the team would be on the outside looking in.
While Ingram (two rushes Sunday) has been phased out of the Ravens’ offensive attack, Dobbins continues to see a plethora of touches. The rookie second-round pick has recorded 255 total yards over the past four games. His absence against one of the top defenses in the NFL is going to be felt big time.
With both Ingram and Dobbins out for Week 12, third-year back Gus Edwards will get the start. Outside of Lamar Jackson, he’s the team’s leading rusher. Edwards has tallied 355 yards at a clip of 4.4 yards per rush in 10 games this season.
The onus is now going to be on Lamar Jackson to improve under center. He’s accounted for five passing touchdowns compared to four interceptions over the past four games. It’s not a coincidence that the Ravens are 1-3 during that span.
Thursday’s game, by all accounts, is a must win for Baltimore. Seeing an outbreak of COVID-19 within their organization surely puts the team behind the proverbial eight-ball.
That’s no more true than in preparing for a game against a 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers squad. Baltimore was already going to be under the proverbial eight-ball here. That’s now obviously magnified further based on this most-recent news.
We’ll obviously have more updates on this Ravens news as soon as it breaks. For now, things are not looking great for head coach John Harbaugh and Co.